Annex 2: Quality of the statistics
Governance of Data Quality for Police Recorded Crime:
6.23. The recording of crime by the police and the subsequent publication of information through this statistical bulletin is undertaken by those who are professionally independent of wider decision-making and performance processes within their organisations. Within Police Scotland, the Crime Registrars ensure that crimes in Scotland are recorded ethically. They sit within the corporate services business area so that they are removed from direct operational activity and investigation. In turn, the production of the Official Statistics on recorded crime is managed in an impartial and objective way, in the public interest, by Scottish Government statisticians.
6.24. A Scottish Crime Recording Board has been set up to support the production of accurate and objective statistics on crime in Scotland. This Board will ensure that crime data is comprehensive, consistent, transparent and trustworthy. It will take into account the needs of both users and providers in the production of crime statistics and will ensure that this process is undertaken in a manner consistent with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The Board is chaired by the Justice Analytical Services division of the Scottish Government and a wide range of organisations are represented including Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) and the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). Information on the remit and functions of the Board, its actions and its relationship to other forums, will be published on the Scottish Government website. Users can receive updates on these developments by registering with Scotstat: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/scotstat.
6.25. A Framework of Assurance has been developed for Recorded Crime statistics to provide evidence on:
- the suitability of the administrative data for use in producing official statistics;
- factors that the statistical producer needs to take into account in producing the official statistics;
- the information that users need to know in order to make informed use of the statistics.
The Framework of Assurance can be accessed via the link below and the aforementioned Crime Recording Board will assume responsibility for approving any future changes to this product: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/PubRecordedCrime/FoA.
6.26. In November 2014, HMICS published the findings from the 2014 Crime Audit. Details about the Audit are featured throughout this statistical bulletin and where relevant within the Data Validation segments contained within Chapter 3. Further details about the audit, including a link to the full report, can be found in Annex 3. HMICS propose to conduct a follow-up audit of Crime Recording in 2016 and will commence the scoping of this, in consultation with key stakeholders, in March 2016.
6.27. In addition to HMICS, audits of incident and crime records are also undertaken by Police Scotland's Crime Registrars. From April 2015 onwards, and in line with a recommendation made by HMICS in their 2014 Crime Audit, updates on the results of these internal audits and Police Scotland's actions against other recommendations are presented to the Audit and Risk Committee of the Scottish Police Authority. Papers from the Committee's meetings are published, with those from meetings held in 2015 available at the link below. Prior to the production of the 2015-16 bulletin on police recorded crime, we will ask the Scottish Crime Recording Board to consider what role there may be for these internal audits to support the process of producing the Official statistics and how they may provide further information to users on the quality of the data. http://www.spa.police.uk/meetings-events/audit-and-risk-committee/auditmeetings2015/.
Quality Assurance of Submitted Data:
6.28. The data provided by Police Scotland go through a process of quality assurance in which data received are checked across the four quarters of the financial year period, and against the previous year. Anything unusual or which we feel requires further explanation is then fed back to the Police for their attention. Any amendments are carried out and the final data is used to produce a set of data tables which can be used to check the final dataset. If the police are content that the figures are an accurate reflection of the dataset, then the data is officially signed off for use in the publication.
During the quality assurance checking process, it is possible for errors to be found in data for previous years. While we do not routinely revise figures, we are committed to correcting errors in the data and providing suitable explanations for any changes made to previously published data.
6.29. Detailed information on the quality assurance processes applied to recorded crime data is available in the User Guide to Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland, available via the following link: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/PubRecordedCrime/UserGuide.
6.30. Before the publication of the Recorded Crime in Scotland, 2013-14 bulletin, an extensive quality assurance exercise was carried out both to ensure consistency of data pre and post police reform, and to check the quality of recorded crime data supplied by the police. This was due to the data being extracted from one central unit within Police Scotland, using their new information and performance management reporting tool (ScOMIS), instead of being returned by the eight legacy police force areas. ScOMIS collates crime reports from across the variety of systems used by the eight legacy police forces into one central system, and supplies the Scottish Government with recorded crime data.
This exercise raised several data quality issues which led to a number of corrections to legacy data published in previous years. The extent of these amendments to the data, along with all findings of this exercise, have been published in a Technical Report on the comparability of recorded crime data, publicly available via the following link: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice/PubRecordedCrime/TechnicalReport.
The Technical Report should be read alongside this bulletin and the User Guide to Recorded Crime Statistics in Scotland, as these provide context and background information on recorded crime data.
Continuing data quality issues:
Overall, the Scottish Government are confident that ScOMIS can provide data which are accurate and reliable for inclusion in the Recorded Crime in Scotland statistical bulletin series.
In terms of comparability, the Scottish Government are satisfied that crime data, Groups 1 to 5, are comparable pre and post reform, and so there is no break in the time series for this data.
However the overall comparability for offences data, Groups 6 and 7, has been affected by some of the issues relating to legacy force data and changes in recording practices. Overall comparisons for offences data should not be made prior to 2013-14.
6.31. The total number of Miscellaneous offences (Group 6) is subject to a break in the time series from 2008-09 as a result of the incomparability of four specific offences. Overall comparisons for Group 6 should only be made for 2008‑09 onwards.
- It has not been possible to correct a very slight undercount in legacy Lothian & Borders data for Litter offences and Bicycles, other offences prior to 2008-09, which affects the Other miscellaneous offences category.
- It has not been possible to correct double counting in legacy Tayside data for Disorderly on licensed premises and Control of Pollution prior to 2008-09, which affects the Drunkenness and other disorderly conduct and the Other miscellaneous offences categories respectively.
6.32. The total number of Motor vehicle offences (Group 7) is subject to a break in the time series from 2013-14 as a result of a number of issues affecting comparability over time. Overall comparisons for Group 7 should not be made prior to 2013-14.
- Legacy Strathclyde did not include Safety Camera Partnership data in their returns for 2007-08 onwards which means that data for this time period onwards is not comparable across Scotland. This affects the following offences: Speeding in restricted areas; Other speeding; Drivers neglect of traffic directions (not pedestrian crossing); Drivers contravention of pedestrian crossing regulations and Motorway traffic offences. As a result, this affects the Speeding and Other motor vehicle offences categories.
- Legacy forces did not consistently include Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme (VDRS) data in their returns, and so data cannot be compared prior to 2013-14. This affects the following offences: Registration or identification mark offences; Lighting offences (motor vehicles) and Construction and use regulation (other than lighting) offences. As a result, this affects the Unlawful use of vehicle and Vehicle defect offences categories.
- Legacy forces did not consistently include data relating to tickets issued by the DVLA for Vehicle Excise Licence offences, also sourced from the Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme, and so data cannot be compared prior to 2013-14. As a result, this affects the Unlawful use of vehicle category.
- It has not been possible to correct invalid data included in the returns from legacy Dumfries & Galloway and Fife for a number of motor vehicle offences prior to 2008-09. This affects the following offences: Using a motor vehicle without a test certificate; Driving without a licence (including under age); Failure to insure against third party risks; Lighting offences (motor vehicle) (Dumfries & Galloway, 2011-12 and 2012-13 only); Construction and use regulations (other than lighting) (Dumfries & Galloway only); Seat belt offences and Mobile phone offences. As a result, this affects the Unlawful use of vehicle, Vehicle defect offences, Seat belt offences and Mobile phone offences categories.
- It has not been possible to correct double counting in legacy Lothian & Borders data for the following offences: Using a motor vehicle without a test certificate, Driving without a licence (including under age), Failure to insure against third party risks), Seat belt offences and Mobile phone offences As a result, this affects the Unlawful use of vehicle, Seat belt offences and Mobile phone offences categories.
Email: Keith Paterson
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